My selection :
With a tradition stretching back over 500 years, the Fêtes Johanniques are still a major annual event. Every year between April 29th and May 8th Orléans celebrates the historical heroine whose name will forever be associated with the city: Joan of Arc. The celebrations begin with the commemoration of Joan's entry into the city, continuing with a nocturnal son-et-lumière spectacular at the cathedral, medieval re-enactments and other attractions before the final parade recalls the liberation of the city from the English yoke.
A few months later, in the summertime, the town of Ferrières en Gâtinais also invites visitors to take a trip back in time to the fifteenth century. Beginning at the gates of the abbey, the historic centre is transformed into a living snapshot of medieval life where soldiers and wenches, tradesmen and masons, gossips and beggars mingle and interact. An enchanting experience which attracts thousands of visitors every year, including the hundreds who flock to the nightly medieval banquets.
No less popular a feast is the Republican Repast held in Cléry Saint-André, organised by the association ‘Cléry: light, sound, history'. This son-et-lumière spectacular tells the story of women in the 1789 Revolution. In period settings, Danton, Robespierre and Olympes de Gouges live again alongside ordinary folk.
In the not-so-distant past, Beaugency's festival ‘Windmills and Cancans, on the wings of a dream', traces the link between the watermills of the late 19th century and the famous Moulin dance shows of Paris, the favoured hang-outs of Gaston Couté, Toulouse Lautrec and friends.
A guaranteed knees-up !
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